Charges: Suspect in 5th Avenue Mall attack had criminal history
The man accused of stabbing another man at the 5th Avenue Mall over the weekend was also convicted of stabbing his girlfriend in Anchorage nearly two years ago, according to charging documents that lay out both cases.
Frankie Warner-Willhoit, 22, faces charges of second-degree assault in the latest encounter Sunday evening at the mall’s food court. Police said the victim, who was stabbed in the upper body, was able to seize a sword from Warner-Willhoit and inflict a superficial cut to the suspect's leg.
According to a charging document in Sunday’s stabbing, police walking in the mall saw a crowd at the scene of the stabbing, where they saw the victim “with his hand covered in blood and standing in a puddle of blood.” Police saw Warner-Willhoit escaping the mall via a skybridge across Fifth Avenue to a parking garage; officers chased him and successfully ordered him to stop with guns and Tasers drawn.
“[Warner-Willhoit] was wearing black pants, multiple sweatshirts, a pink backpack and had two swords crossed on his back as if he were a ‘ninja,’” prosecutors wrote. “Additionally, the defendant had what appeared to be fresh blood on his right sleeve.”
A search of Warner-Willhoit revealed an arsenal of bladed weapons beyond the swords officers first observed.
“A spring-loaded knife was found in his hat and multiple knives, a machete and hatchet were found in his backpack,” prosecutors wrote. “One of the knives in the defendant’s backpack appeared to have blood and human flesh on it.”
Police responded to a separate stabbing involving Warner-Willhoit on June 1, 2017, when his girlfriend at the time walked into a business on Arctic Boulevard suffering from stab wounds to her leg and chest. According to a charging document filed in 2017, staff at that business closed the door and called police, who responded and arrested Warner-Willhoit nearby. The suspect had a knife on him at the time of the arrest.
The victim, who was able to speak as she received medical care, told police that both she and Warner-Willhoit were homeless and living in Valley of the Moon Park at the time.
“[She] said Warner-Willhoit is always angry for unknown reasons,” prosecutors wrote. “[She said that] as they were walking together Warner-Willhoit just attacked her for no reason.”
A driver who was headed north on Arctic Boulevard near the park said he saw the attack, but didn’t see a knife.
“[The driver] said he noticed that the male and female appeared to be arguing when the male [punched] the woman in the face knocking her down,” prosecutors wrote. “[The driver] said he observed in his rearview mirror that the male continued to attack the female as she was on the ground.”
When police spoke with Warner-Willhoit, he admitted to arguing with her that day.
“Warner-Willhoit denied stabbing her,” prosecutors wrote. “(H)e said he cut her clothes with a knife and threw water on her because he was angry with her for waking him up.”
Court records in the 2017 case show that Warner-Willhoit ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. The prosecutor in that stabbing, Assistant Attorney General Kevin Bergt, said Monday that he had been sentenced to 38 months in the case with 30 suspended; upon his release, Warner-Willhoit was set to spend three years on probation.
Warner-Willhoit was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon on charges from the mall stabbing, but failed to appear in court.
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